The Morning After: Sony’s Xperia Pro-1 is camera first, smartphone second

Sony’s smartphones have never quite set the world on fire. It’s one of the last storied tech companies still willing to try to sell phones, despite the dominance of Apple and Samsung.

The company seemed to turn a corner with its Xperia 1 series — phones that leaned into Sony’s camera knowledge, both when it came to sensors it’s made for years and software smarts.

We’ve got a review incoming for the Xperia 1 III, but that’s now been elbowed aside by the Xperia Pro-1, announced last night.

Xperia Pro-1

Sony

The big feature of the Xperia Pro-I is a 1-inch sensor last seen from the company’s wonderful RX100 VII point-and-shoot camera. It’s a much larger sensor than you’ll find on most phones (although Sony says the lens only actually covers a portion of the sensor). For comparison, the primary sensor on the just-released Google Pixel 6 Pro features a pixel pitch of 1.2µm. The Pro-I has 2.4µm-sized pixels. The device can capture RAW stills, 4K 120 fps video, and (like the last few Xperia 1 models) shoot images at 20 fps as well.

Also notably, there’s a 24mm lens made from glass that can switch between f/2.0 and f/4.0 apertures — another rare feature, if not the first phone to feature aperture switching.

The phone will also arrive with all kinds of dongles and add-ons, including support for Sony’s “dead-cat” muffler to cut wind noise, a shooting grip and its very own add-on display, for self-recording and vlogging with the primary camera sensor.

As tradition dictates, Sony is demanding a premium, yet again. In the US, the Xperia Pro-I will cost $1,800.The company reasons that you’re getting a flagship phone and RX100 VII point-and-shoot all in one device, for less.

I’m not sure most of us will swallow that excuse.

-Mat Smith

Solid phones, great software, perfect pricing

The Morning After

Engadget

While we balk at that Sony phone price, Google’s Pixel phones have landed. A true blend of premium hardware and tempting prices. Yep, for hundreds less than the competition, the Pixel 6 Pro offers everything you’d expect from a flagship and more. It has a lovely 120Hz screen, excellent cameras and a beautiful UI. Plus, Google’s clever AI touches add some intriguing photography tricks and makes voice typing easier.

Torn between the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro? Given the similarity of specs (and size) that decision this year boils down to one key factor: price. Choose the Pixel 6 instead of the Pro and you’ll save $300. You’ll only be missing out on the 120Hz screen and a telephoto camera. And the Pixel 6 has cooler color options anyhow…

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Design, fit and features combine for a better set of earbuds.

The Morning After

Engadget

Apple’s overhauled AirPods bring major changes to design and audio quality. The company expanded availability of key features from the AirPods Pro like spatial audio and Adaptive EQ to a more affordable set of earbuds, all while keeping all of the convenience of AirPods intact.

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100,000 Teslas would be the largest EV purchase ever.

Hertz has ordered 100,000 Tesla EVs for its fleet, with plans to rent them out in major US markets and parts of Europe starting in November, according to Bloomberg. That would mark the largest electric vehicle order of all time and represent a major move by Hertz into electric car rentals.

It would be a pretty sharp turnaround for Hertz, considering that it filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

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And SharePlay for everything else.

Apple has announced that Group Workouts are available starting today, so you can get up to 32 friends together to follow along with the company’s exercise or meditation videos.

To use the new features, you’ll need to update to iOS 15.1 or iPadOS 15.1, as well as watchOS 8.1, all of which are available today. Those who plan on watching the videos on their Apple TV will also need tvOS 15.1. SharePlay wasn’t available when iOS 15 launched earlier this year, and during the iOS 15 beta it was buggy and unstable.

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It’s been over a year.

With Halo Infinite’s release date fast approaching, Microsoft has shared a new six-minute trailer that offers an in-depth look at the game’s single-player component. It’s another attempt after the divisive Xbox showcase appearance from 2020.

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